Virchows Arch. 2004 Sep;445(3):215-23. doi: 10.1007/s00428-004-1038-9. Epub 2004 Jun 2.


Myofibrosarcomas are malignant tumours of myofibroblasts, which have been recognised for many years, but have become clearly defined only recently. They are low- or high-grade sarcomas that arise in soft tissue or bone in adults or children. Low-grade myofibrosarcomas are infiltrative tumours, usually in deep soft tissue, with a predilection for the head and neck region, which display a range of microscopic appearances from fasciitis-like to fibrosarcoma-like; all cases at least focally display nuclear pleomorphism. They express smooth-muscle actin and calponin, and some express desmin, but most lack h-caldesmon. Low-grade myofibrosarcomas can recur but rarely metastasise. Their differential diagnosis is from benign myofibroblastic proliferations, such as fasciitis and fibromatosis, as well as from fibrosarcoma and leiomyosarcoma. Pleomorphic myofibrosarcomas are high-grade pleomorphic sarcomas (malignant fibrous histiocytoma), which show ultrastructural evidence of myofibroblastic differentiation. They closely resemble malignant fibrous histiocytoma clinically and morphologically, but are more frequently actin positive. This article describes the low- and high-grade variants of myofibrosarcoma and other malignant tumours with myofibroblastic differentiation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Child
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Fibroblasts / pathology
  • Fibrosarcoma / metabolism
  • Fibrosarcoma / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Myosarcoma / metabolism
  • Myosarcoma / pathology*
  • Soft Tissue Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Soft Tissue Neoplasms / pathology*